After locking up the 2010 World Challenge Drivers Championship in the Touring Car division at V.I.R., the #18 Lucas Oil / E3 spark Plugs / ROCKSTAR Energy Drink / Aviation Institute of Maintenance / Scion, prepared by DG-Spec was ready for the final race of the season. By seasons end the new GameStreamer “Rookie of the Year” Robert Stout had earned 5 wins, 9 podiums and 11 top 5’s in 12 starts but the last win was quite possibly the biggest surprise of all. The young Stout was planning on an easy run at the season finale but the lure of competition took over again.
Stout said, “Well the bottom line is we’re out here to race, it’s what we do and you may tell yourself you’re going to take it easy but when you get out there, the only thing that makes sense it to go as hard as you can, anything else just feels unnatural”.
After a qualifying session of 6th Stout was just hoping for a podium finish at the end of the day. “There were some really fast cars with very talented drivers in them including the defending Touring Car Champion Pierre Kleinubing starting in front of me so I figured a win here was a stretch”.
Stout was more than ready for the battle and when Crew Chief Sean Morris yelled “Green Green Green” at the Standing start Stout dumped the clutch and hammered the gas launching his Scion like a rocket ship and immediately started passing cars. He dropped down to the bottom of the track and just kept picking them off, by the time he entered turn one Stout had already earned the “Best Standing Start” award of the race after passing all five Touring Cars in front of him and one GTS car as well!
“I couldn’t believe it! Sean said go and I nailed the start perfectly! I thought I would get a couple of them but never dreamed I’d get them all”.
That set the tone for the battle that ensued for the next 30 minutes. While Stout had passed them they were still on his back bumper. The two i-Moto Mazda 3’s including former champ Kleinubing were right there along with series rival Rob Holland’s very fast VW. Stout pulled out an early lead while the Mazda’s battled with each other. Holland got around Kleinubing and started working with Hacquard in the Mazda and the two of them caught up with Stout. Hacquard got under Stout in turn 6 but not without a battle that would cost Stout his passenger side mirror and Holland was right behind him.
“I leaned on him hard but he just pushed right back, I’d have done the same thing. I heard my dad come over the radio and say, “settle in and go get him” we planned to just stay out of trouble for this race and bring it home where ever we ended up but when I heard him say that, I knew it was on” Stout said.
Two laps later Stout tucked down under Hacquard coming onto the long front straightaway and took the lead, Hacquard pulled back up beside Stout and while the two were going side by side Holland had also drove a perfect line coming onto the straight and was catching them both.
“I looked in the mirror and thought holy crap Holland’s got a big run on us both. Both of those guys had been out breaking me but turn one is really wide with a lot of run off so I drove them in deep. They both checked up just before me and I rolled the outside of turn one hard. I was puckered up to say the least, the back of the car was hung out there pretty far but I hung on to it and kept the lead” Stout said.
Rob Holland, “I thought I had both of them for sure but at the exit of turn one I turned my head to the right and Stout was still there, I couldn’t believe it, he is a true Champion and he proved it today. We have had some great battles this year and he is a pleasure to race against”.
Stout held on to the lead with Holland and Hacquard right behind and then things just fell Stout’s way. At the end of the front straight away Holland’s hood flew open while traveling almost 140 MPH. He had contact at the start of the race with a GTS car that caused the hood to come unlatched and it finally blew open. A lap later Hacquard received a black flag for a mechanical as his brake lights were not working and that gave Stout a four second advantage on Kleinubing who had inherited 2nd place. The battle was over but Stout still had something to prove.
“The day I saw Pierre was entered in the race I started looking forward to racing with him. When you’re a new and young driver it’s people like Pierre, Todd Buras, and Chip Herr just to name a few, that you measure yourself up against. Those guys let you know where you stand. My dad and I talked about what it would mean to come out of here with a win with Kleinubing in the field. These guys are big time racers and some of the best in the world so to win here today is the icing on the cake of an incredible season and quite an honor”!
Stout settled into a pace that would see him stretch his 4 second lead out to nearly 7 seconds by the end of the race. “The DG-Spec team once again gave me an awesome car to go into battle with. Sean, Brad, Johnny Mac, Dave and team owner Dan Gardner have provided me with the tools needed to win a championship. What a way to end the season and I think my team mate Tom Lepper nearly podiumed as well”.
By race end Stout had earned the “Optima Batteries Best Standing Start” of the race, the “Sunoco Hard Charger” of the race and the “ Invisible Glass Clean Pass” of the race awards to go along with the win.
Upon arriving at MMSP 18 year old Robert Stout found out the winner of the last race had since been disqualified for an improper turbo charger and that win had been handed back to to him bringing the total up to 5 wins on the season, 9 podiums and 11 top 5’s in 12 starts, that my friends is how you win a Championship!
The win punctuated a season that saw the 18-year-old become the youngest World Challenge Drivers’ Champion, the GameStreamer Touring Car Rookie of the Year, clinch a Team Championship for DG-Spec, and a Manufacturers’ Championship for Scion.
From Stout, “again a very special thanks to all of our supporters, Lucas Oil / E3 Spark Plugs / ROCKSTAR Energy Drink / and Aviation Institute of Maintenance this is a very expensive sport and without all of them we couldn’t have done this. My dad has spent countless hours and who knows how much money to get me where I’m at today and I can’t thank him enough! Dan Gardner and the entire DG-Spec team, Scion for an unbelievably strong car, everybody at World Challenge and the SCCA Pro-Racing division, the Internal Combustion Group production company for all the TV time on Versus, it takes so many people to make this happen it’s mind boggling. This has been a very special year”!
The Toyo Tires Utah Grand Prix Presented by Bondurant will be broadcast along with the doubleheader from VIRginia International Raceway on Saturday, Oct. 30 at 3 p.m. (Eastern) on Versus.
The team’s progress throughout the season can be followed at http://www.scionracing.com and http://www.facebook.com/scionracing
The World Challenge is North America's top production car-based racing championship. Divided into three separate classes (World Challenge Touring Car, World Challenge GTS, and World Challenge GT) races follow a sprint format and are 50 minutes start to finish. Each race features thrilling standing starts, adrenaline filled door-to-door action, and top-notch drivers. Drivers pilot cars from the world's most popular manufacturers. Race prepped versions of the cars we drive on the streets! The World Challenge is sanctioned by SCCA Pro Racing and races at North America's premier road and temporary street courses. Follow World Challenge on Twitter @WCRacing or on Facebook.
Source:eKarting News and World Challenge
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